Police have confirmed they are investigating a video of a man stoning a wombat on a dirt road in South Australia.
The shirtless man in the footage, an off duty police officer, is seen slowly following a wombat down a remote road before giving the thumbs up to the camera and throwing a rock at the animal.
The driver of the car continues to film the man and can be heard laughing in the background.
“You killed him, bro,” the driver said.
“First bloke to ever see killing a wombat on foot with a rock, mate.”
South Australia Police have confirmed the man in a video seriously injuring a wombat is a member of the South Australia Police.
Commissioner Grant Stevens said in a statement: “I viewed the video this morning and immediately instigated an investigation into this incident. I find the actions portrayed in the footage to be totally abhorrent and unacceptable.
“I am aware of the community outrage regarding this matter.
“I want to reassure everybody that the actions in the video do not align with the values and behaviours I expect from my employees, nor does it align with community standards. Numerous employees of South Australia Police have also expressed to me that they, too, find the footage detestable and not consistent with their values.”
The man’s uncle, who wished to remain anonymous, told 10 News First the act is a traditional custom.
“It’s a custom that Indigenous people on the west coast, especially the far west coast, have used for thousands of years, as part of our hunting and gathering,” he said.
“If they’ve got native title over their country, which we have on the west coast of South Australia, that gives us our right to go and hunt and gather on our natural, traditional land.”
Animal welfare groups are condemning the video.
The Wombat Awareness Organisation, who originally posted the video on Facebook, has launched an online petition for native animals to be protected and the man be prosecuted.
Australian identities have taken to Twitter to express their outrage and call for action: